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The Brook

Location

650 Evergreen Place

North Vancouver, British Columbia

Content Type
  • Building
Completion date
November 2009
Site/Building area
2,400 m2/ 1,500 m2
Budget
$15,000,000
Certifications & Awards
  • LEED Canada for New Construction and Major Renovations (registered)
  • Targeting CaGBC LEED Platinum certification
Project Team
  • Developer: Streamline Properties Inc.
  • Architects: Array Architecture; Gair Williamson Architects
  • Landscape Architects: Senga Landscape Architecture Inc.
  • Structural Engineers: Fast + Epp
  • Mechanical/Electrical Engineers: Cobalt Engineering
  • HVAC Consultants: Integrity Mechanical
  • Geothermal Engineer: EBA Engineering
  • Building Envelope: Aqua-Coast Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineer: Geopacific Consultants
  • Building Engineer: Webster Engineering
  • Environmental Consultant: Kane Consulting

Summary

KEY SUSTAINABILITY FEATURES

  • Geothermal well-water system:  83% reduction in municipal water use
  • Energy-efficient building design: 67% cost-savings for homeowners
  • Locally sourced building materials and supplies

The Brook is a residential development in North Vancouver, developed by Streamline Properties Inc., a Vancouver-based company specializing in the development of boutique green buildings. The development is located close to natural amenities and transit services on a site previously occupied by a gas station. Aiming for LEED Platinum certification, the Brook has anticipates energy cost savings for homeowners of over 67 percent.

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

The innovative geothermal heating and cooling system installed in the Brook showcases leading-edge sustainability technology. This system consists of a fifty-five metre deep water well, heat pumps, and heat exchangers that utilize groundwater with a consistent year-round temperature of approximately ten degrees Celsius.  The geothermal heat pump compressors extract heat energy from the well water while a secondary heat exchanger provides “natural” cooling from the same well water through both the radiant floor panels and the air system of the building. After use, the well-water is recycled in either the heat pumps or the cooling heat exchanger and stored in one of two 40,000 litre reservoirs built into the underground parkade. This recycled well-water is used for flushing toilets, washing clothes and irrigating the landscape, which reduces municipal water use in the building by over 80 percent.

Roof-mounted solar UV thermal collectors augment the geothermal system by heating water that is then used for domestic purposes. During peak demand, a high-efficiency natural gas boiler supplements and acts as a backup for the geothermal system. A single on-site natural gas generator provides energy for emergency electrical requirements of the building.

An airtight building envelope in combination with comprehensive insulation and weather-stripping contribute to high-energy efficiency values. Further, each apartment is outfitted with a locally sourced heat recovery ventilation (HRV) unit. This unit employs a counter-flow heat exchanger between inbound and outbound air to deliver fresh air to each room while stale, moist air exhausts outside. HVR ventilation units are powerful and quiet so that the building maintains excellent air quality without a noisy and energy-intense mechanical system.

ECONOMY

The capital costs of developing the Brook as a high performance green building were approximately sixteen percent higher than conventional construction costs. In this case, while the primary cost increase results from the use of higher quality, longer lasting windows, plumbing and insulation, less than five percent of the increase is attributable to the use of a geothermal heating/ cooling system. However, the increased initial capital costs are expected to translate into a rapid return-on-investment, as these elements perform better and last much longer than conventional building supplies. For example, the fusion-welded, low friction, heat adapted pipes used at The Brook have a fifty-year warranty. Conversely, copper plumbing systems in many conventional developments in North America often have to be replaced or repaired every fifteen to twenty years. As a result of the energy performance of the Brook, strata fees are currently less than $200 per month.
According to developer Jeff Wiegel, president of Streamline Properties, the high building performance values of the Brook were a primary purchase motivation for current owners. High quality insulation increases energy efficiency while reducing noise stress. The HRV units require far less energy to operate while being quieter and providing better circulation of fresh air than conventional systems, leading to the effective elimination of condensation and smells.

“Green” technology and services provided for this development include:

COMMUNITY

The developers of the Brook took steps and actions that resulted in significant economic and educational benefits to the local community. During the initial stages of project development, they inventoried local suppliers and companies that promised to help achieve the desired building performance—with the goal to reduce high shipping and associated energy costs. They found that local expertise and products were readily available for the vast majority of their requirements.
The Brook has also contributed significantly to educating the community, professionals and municipal staff about the potential for geothermal heating/ cooling systems and energy-efficient airtight building envelopes. The developers organized presentations by experts on geothermal applications, public open houses and a tour for students to demonstrate the future of sustainable living.

Sources include: